In Hesiod’s Works and Days, all of humanity’s evils were released into our world from Pandora’s Box, though Hope remained. Traditional thought has been that Hope remained to give humanity the perseverance to face and overcome those evils. Or was it Hope that was the greatest evil: driving humanity on towards its own destruction, continually seeking relief from the other evils, but without gratification?
In Dante’s ‘Inferno’ the phrase “Abandon hope all who enter here” greets those who enter Hell. Does Dante express the opinion that once we enter Hell there is no Hope, or perhaps the meaning is that by ‘abandoning all hope’ we enter our hell. There are enough people who live, and die, without hope and are in a self-created form of hell.
In the New Testament hope is the word elpis…meaning to anticipate, usually with pleasure; rather than an airy fairy wish…it is the word used in Hebrews 11:1 (“faith is the substance of things hoped for…”), as well as the closing of 1 Corinthians 13:13 (“Now these 3 remain: faith, hope and love…”)
In the Old Testament, the word for hope is tikvah – it is also the word used to describe the scarlet cord Rahab tied outside her window. The action of tying the red cord marked her hope (and expectation) of rescue at the hands of the two Israelite spies she sheltered (Joshua 2:1-21). Tikvah is: a cord of attachment, an expectation, to trust, to confide in.
What is our hope in Christ? Is it only a wish, or a secure knowing?
How can we trust in things not seen? In Hebrews 6:13-20 the story of God’s promise to Abraham he swore by himself since he had no greater to swear by, and God can not lie, this brought an end to every dispute. Therefore lay hold on the promised hope as an anchor for our lives. Hope is not some far-flung wish cast on the evening star, but an expectation and anticipation that what we see in the distance will come to be. Therefore Hope (expectation) in the future has come now. The invisible has become visible, the expectation has become reality. Hebrews 7:19, “for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”
Hope, by its very nature, is always concerned with something in the future. Yet it is more, it is the power in the present to create a future. It is the realisation of the destruction of all hells for all mankind by Christ in His resurrection.
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